Chart Detail

Hourly wages by education, 1973–2011 (2011 dollars)

Less than
high school
High
school
Some
college
College
degree
Advanced
degree
Real hourly wage
1973 $14.93 $17.11 $18.43 $24.96 $30.17
1979 14.85 16.67 17.82 23.36 28.53
1989 12.69 15.47 17.37 24.36 31.40
1995 11.46 15.15 16.93 25.16 33.10
2000 11.92 16.04 18.23 27.99 35.42
2007 12.34 16.24 18.31 28.65 36.31
2011 11.82 15.89 17.57 27.99 36.40
Annual percent change
1973–1979 -0.1% -0.4% -0.6% -1.1% -0.9%
1979–1989 -1.6 -0.7 -0.3 0.4 1.0
1989–2000 -0.6 0.3 0.4 1.3 1.1
1989–1995 -1.7 -0.3 -0.4 0.5 0.9
1995–2000 0.8 1.1 1.5 2.2 1.4
2000–2007 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.4
2007–2011 -1.1 -0.5 -1.0 -0.6 0.1
Share of employment
1973 28.5% 38.3% 18.5% 10.1% 4.5%
1979 20.1 38.5 22.8 12.7 6.0
1989 13.7 36.9 26.0 15.6 7.9
2000 10.8 31.9 29.8 18.8 8.7
2007 9.8 29.6 29.6 20.9 10.1
2011 8.4 28.0 30.4 21.9 11.3

Source: Authors' analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata

Updated May 14, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Table is based on tabulations of CPS wage data described in Appendix B. See Appendix B for details on how a consistent measure of education was developed to bridge the change in coding in 1992.

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